Breaking the Mold

By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Sammuel Aidoo is my name, I am a married man with three children.’ As the eldest child in his family, with three sisters, and two brothers, Sammuel helps provide for his younger siblings to receive an education. He shares, ‘I became self employed on September 5th 2005 after I completed my apprenticeship work at University of Cape Coast fault of maintenance section and bakery business is one of the great opportunity jobs for me.’

Sammuel’s grandmother was a baker, and he started learning from her from the time he was 10 years old. Then, his wife also became a baker, but was unable to work once she became pregnant because of the high temperatures. As a result, she handed over her responsibilities to her husband. Sammuel shares, ‘At the moment my wife handing over the job to me people started laughing at me saying that my wife has fooling me because in our community only female people do the bread business so why should I do such business, but I didn’t listen to them and worked hard to gain in the business to achieve one of the big container stores in our community, that container is now where we are working in. If you go to other regions in Ghana you could see that many male people do the bakery business, so I will say that I am the first male person to do a bakery business in our community, so now some of the elders in our community said I have set a good example for young boys in our community.’

In addition to running his family bakery, which earns the majority of his income, Sammuel also earns about 30% of his income from doing electrical work. On the side he also earns some extra money selling soft drinks and Fan Milk products.

Since joining the Zidisha community in August, 2020, Sammuel has raised 6 Zidisha funded loans, starting with $13 in August. With each additional loan, Sammuel has been able to increase his inventory of supplies for his business such as, ‘flour, margarine, yeast, sugar, baking soda, and soft drinks.’ Before partnering with Zidisha, Sammuel would find himself purchasing supplies 3 days a week, using up a lot of time and additional transportation costs. Now, with his Zidisha loans, he can purchase his supplies in bulk, and buys on a less frequent basis. Most recently, in November, he raised $762 and this will allow him to purchase his supplies on a monthly basis.

While he doesn’t have much free time these days, when he does have it, Sammuel enjoys doing research on the internet, playing games on his phone, and watching football matches.

Would you like to make a difference in the life of an entrepreneur like Sammuel? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to read about Zidisha business owners making a difference in their families and communities around the world.

Thank You Team Zidisha

By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Joseph Amofa Atuahene hails from Bekwai and currently lives in Kimasi, Ghana. After graduating from high school, he joined the family business as his father was getting too old to run the company, and soon after, passed away. Joseph explains, ‘Business has been improving and as a business minded person, I always need help to support my business and I am happy to join this organization. I currently employ about four people to help in my business. I like reading and am always inspired by motivational messages.’ He is also excited to be part of Zidisha as he hopes to continually upgrade his business.

In describing his business, Joseph shares, ‘I am into the sales of plumbing materials. These plumbing materials are also in my shop/store and customers come and buy them in retail and wholesale. I sell every material that plumbers need for their work. I retail my goods and also sell them in bulk or large quantities.’

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Zidisha has continued to support entrepreneurs like Joseph as they do their best to pivot, and continue to run businesses, even under the most unusual of circumstances. Joseph is fairly new to the Zidisha community, joining in July 2020, and has since raised 9 Zidisha funded loans.

In July, Joseph raised his first loan of $18 and shared, ‘Thank you Zidisha for allowing me to create a loan proposal. This loan is purposely intended for, to buy plumbing materials for sales. Buying of the plumbing materials will boost my sales and to also increase my profit margin for me to repay my loan given. Buying of plumbing materials are essential to aid water flows in institutions, schools, homes etc. My loan will be used to buy plumbing materials for sales. I pray to the most high God to end this Corona virus outbreak that is collapsing many businesses. It is really sad for business to be closed or not working. In my country, businesses are operating fully because we are not on a lockdown. People are buying and selling so I will use the sales from my plumbing materials to repay my loan. Thank you so much.’

Doing well and repaying his first loan, Joseph was able to raise five additional loans throughout the month of July, continuing to increase his inventory supply. The following month, in August, Joseph raised $287 as he wrote, ‘Words cannot express itself for the support that I am receiving from Zidisha and the lenders. Market was really good a few days ago. My loan is going to be used to buy plumbing materials for sales. Thank you.’

As 2020 is coming to a close, Joseph is continuing to work hard and keep his inventory stocked as he raised a loan for $316 in November and one for $455 in December, sharing with lenders, ‘I am here again to give thanks to the Zidisha staff and the lenders for all the loans I have taken from Zidisha. This loan that I am requesting will be used to restock my shop with plumbing materials for sales. Restocking the shop with plumbing materials for sales boost good sales and increase profits. This loan is purposely going to be used to restock my shop with plumbing materials for sales. Many businesses are facing high risks of climate change but I can repay my loan in the coming weeks. This is because, people patronize my plumbing materials that I sell and there’s a free movement of people in my country and that will enable me to make repayment on time.’

Recently, Joseph left a comment for his lenders on his discussion page and wrote, ‘I thank you so much for your support with my loan. Indeed sales have been extremely good and I am here to appreciate Zidisha for their support with my business. Thank you team Zidisha and everyone here. God bless you all.’

Would you like to continue supporting entrepreneurs that are persevering through the pandemic? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to read about Zidisha business owners around the world.

A Second Chance

By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Growing up in Coastal Kenya, Ken Mutinda earned a B.Sc degree in Horticulture, studying at Egerton University. After graduating, he found the lack of jobs frustrating, but used his circumstance as an opportunity to start his own business with a small amount of money that he’d been able to save up. With 500 mango seedlings, he set out to start his nursery. However, this was just the beginning for Ken.

Today, Ken has a diverse set of businesses. He explains, ‘My business is mainly poultry farming whereby we are involved in selling both eggs and meat. I also invest in small scale cattle and goat farming. The rest of the farm area is covered in agroforestry whereby we grow crops and trees for sustainability. The trees are sometimes harvested for timber and firewood. This helps to boost the financial status especially for home use. There is also a small tree nursery whereby seedlings are sold at affordable prices.’

In addition to all of the above business ventures, he also has experience making soap-less detergent which he has sold to car wash businesses.

Since joining the Zidisha community in 2015, Ken has raised 6 Zidisha funded loans. With his first loan of $200 he started by purchasing materials for his tree nursery business such as, ‘seeds, fertilizer, and sleeves.’ He put the remaining funds towards his detergent business.

The following year, in March 2016, he raised a slightly larger loan, of $301. This loan allowed him to buy a wide variety of supplies and labor costs including: ‘seed, fertilizer, ploughing, planting labor, spraying costs, weeding, fungicide, and insecticide.’

With his following loans from March to October 2017, Ken received a total of $2,411 to work on some big projects. He started by repairing his fence to protect against the elements and also sought to pay for a water tank and water pipe. Following this, his next big project was the building of a farmhouse. To make this dream a reality, he purchased: ‘blocks, sand, timber, cement, windows, doors, roofing sheets, and also covered labor costs.’

By October 2017, Ken was putting some final touches on his farmhouse with plastering, painting, installing tap water, and setting up a solar power system. He shared, ‘This will assist me and my family to lead a better life on the farm and hence develop the farm for small scale farming. The solar system will give us a free power supply and also assist in reducing environmental degradation. I also intend to set up a biogas digester for cooking purposes. Thank you and be blessed.’

Most recently, Ken acquired a Zidisha funded loan for $1,561 in April 2018 and was able to use the funds to purchase a motorbike as he writes, ‘The motorbike will help me to reduce my domestic transport costs hence increasing the profitability of my business. In the long-run it will give the motorbike a higher resale value and also increase my asset base. It will also help in-case of an emergency.’

20020 has been a difficult year globally, but even with uncertainty and changes in business, Ken is still moving forward. On November 30, 2020, he took to his discussion page and shared this update, ‘I take this opportunity to thank my lenders for the support they have given me. The Corona pandemic has really affected most of us especially in our economic and social aspects. Most people including me have been rendered jobless. This loan is going to give me a second chance to try and get on my feet once again. I will first begin by digging out the well which will take maybe up to one month to complete. During this period I will also purchase the water pump and excavate the pond. I have been in contact with a fish farm who will supply the fingerlings and also assist with more information about feeds. We have been having problems with water supply and so this will help a lot. I will also indulge in vegetable farming and hence expand my poultry enterprise. Thank you for the support you have given me. May God bless you abundantly.’

Would you like to make a difference in the life of a business owner like Ken? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to read about Zidisha entrepreneurs that are changing their communities all over the world.

A Big Shout Out

By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Samuel Emmanuel, was born in the Kaduna State in Nigeria, and is a native of the Enugu state in Nigeria. He explains, ‘I spent most of My childhood days in the northern part of Nigeria being the Kaduna state Nigeria before finally relocating to Lagos in the year 2001 to start a new life. I started my primary education in the year 2003, and graduated from college (secondary school) in the year 2014.’

As the first born son in his family, Samuel reflects that ‘life wasn’t easy’ which led him to enter the field of trade. In his profession, Samuel is a mobile phone engineer and he specializes in flashing, unlocking, and repairing mobile phones. In addition to his repair work, he also sells phone related products including: memory cards, earpieces, batteries, and mobile phones.

Samuel has now been a part of the Zidisha community since August 2019 and has been able to raise 11 loans during this time. Amazingly, his first two loans were under $5 and most recently he raised his largest loan yet for $1,931. During this time he’s also maintained an impressive repayment rate of 100%.

For Samuel, his Zidisha loans have allowed him to continue to purchase new items and re-stock his shop. For many small business owners, especially those with product based businesses, a lack of funds for inventory can be a huge deterrent from growth.

In Samuel’s case, since phone and technology products can be relatively expensive, it is important for him to maintain cash on hand so that he can continue to re-purchase or buy new products as needed or requested by his customers.

With his Zidisha funded loans, Samuel has been able to purchase: ‘memory cards, phone chargers, desktop chargers, earphones, mobile phones, and batteries.’ He’s also purchased additional items for his business such as, ‘a smoldering iron, soldering led, flux, paper tape, and other phone tools.’

On Dec 19, 2019, Samuel took to his discussion page and shared, ‘A big shout out goes to all my lenders for their kind gesture over my almost completed loan, the loan was indeed very helpful, you all shall be celebrated! God bless you all.’

As Samuel has continued to grow his business, he’s been able to add additional products to his inventory like, Ipads, and the latest models of smartphones and other tech products as these continue to be in high demand among his customers!

Would you like to help an entrepreneur like Samuel scale his or her business? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to read about Zidisha entrepreneurs around the world.